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Arby’s owner prevails in bid to buy Wendy’s

From the Associated Press

After two past rejections, the owner of Arby’s roast beef sandwich restaurants is buying Wendy’s, the fast-food chain famous for its made-to-order square hamburgers, for more than $2 billion.

Triarc Companies Inc., which is owned by billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, said Thursday that it would pay about $2.34 billion in an all-stock deal for the nation’s third-largest hamburger chain, started in 1969 by Dave Thomas. Wendy’s had rejected at least two buyout offers from Triarc.

Thomas’ daughter, Pam Thomas Farber, said the family was devastated by the news.

“It’s a very sad day for Wendy’s and our family. We just didn’t think this would be the outcome,” said Farber. If her father were alive to hear news of the buyout, “he would not be amused,” she added.

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Dave Thomas became a household face when he began pitching his burgers and fries in television commercials in 1989.

New York-based Triarc will pay about $26.78 a share for the company, which has about 87 million shares outstanding. The price is a premium of 6% over the Wendy’s closing price of $25.32 Wednesday.

The deal, which is expected to close in the second half of the year, calls for shareholders of Columbus-based Wendy’s to receive 4.25 shares of Triarc Class A stock for each share of Wendy’s stock they own.

Wendy’s board has been studying alternatives since early last year, and expenses related to that contributed to its 72% drop in first-quarter earnings announced Thursday.

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Wendy’s said its profit totaled $4.1 million, or 5 cents a share, for the quarter ended March 30, compared with a profit of $14.7 million, or 15 cents, a year ago. Revenue was down slightly to $513 million from $522 million a year ago.

Wendy’s stock is well off its high for the last year of $42.22.

Shares of Wendy’s rose $1.07 on Thursday to $26.39. Triarc gained 17 cents to $6.47.

The deal caps three chaotic years for Wendy’s in which it has sold or spun off operations, slashed its corporate staff and had its wholesome image tarnished by a woman who falsely claimed she found part of a finger in her chili.

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Farber said the family had a supported an alternate bid led by Wendy’s franchisee David Karam.


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